NFL Hot Press: Teams See Four First-Round Quarterbacks

Teams See Four First-Round Quarterbacks

Updated Dec. 11, 2015
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

With the end of the college football regular season, teams are amassing scouting reports on college players from their area scouts and draft boards are building into shape based off the action in 2015. Every year, the scouting community has a prime focus on the quarterback position because so many teams are in need of a franchise signal-caller. In speaking with sources from around the league, they say that none of the draft-eligible quarterback prospects are as good as Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota were a year ago. However, they see the possibility of potentially four quarterbacks ending up being first-round picks. Those players are Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, Cal’s Jared Goff, Michigan State’s Connor Cook, and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.

Lynch has been the projected top quarterback by the draft media. A general manager told me that Lynch is the top quarterback prospect according to their team. They feel that he has a big arm, is a good enough athlete, and needs development. As a prospect, they say he is not a top-10 talent, but they believe he will go in the top 10 because there are so many teams in need of a franchise quarterback. In that regard, they feel he is similar to Blake Bortles who went third overall in the 2014 NFL Draft to Jacksonville.

Our sources say that Lynch comes after Goff for the most part. However, we know that one general manager that likes Goff more, and that GM general manager thinks he’s the top quarterback prospect. Some area and national scouts are lukewarm on Goff, but he has his fans as well.

Michigan State’s Connor Cook is the only one of the group who will play for the national championship, but if one of these highly publicized quarterbacks is going to have a draft-day free fall, it sounds like Cook is the most likely. One general manager in the AFC had this to say about Cook: “I’m not a fan of him because of a lack of accuracy. He locks on to one receiver and lacks good instincts. Has good height, weight, and a quick delivery. Not a leader type, that is a telling thing when his team doesn’t vote him a captain.” Another general manger in the NFC said that assessment of Cook hit the nail on the head.

There have been drafts where top quarterback prospects have draft day slides like Aaron Rodgers, Brady Quinn, or Johnny Manziel. Cook could be that candidate this year.

Wentz is a wild card. The 6-foot-6, 235-pounder broke his wrist and missed six games. He just returned to practice and is expected to play in the Senior Bowl, barring a setback. Sources say that Wentz is a good player, and they obviously they love his size. The Senior Bowl is going to be huge for his draft stock. A great week could send him skyrocketing up draft boards.

One general manager said that the fact that teams are viewing this group as having possibly four first-rounders is because of the desperation to land quarterbacks more than the players being worthy of their picks. Another general manager said, “Some will go high because of need, but all may be overrated.”

Comment on this story here.